Sunday, April 04, 2010

Finishing Up Strong

(New Orleans) - The weekend trip to The Big Easy took a disappointing turn when the lights went out in the Mahalia Jackson Theater Saturday night.
Sunday was Easter, so we awakened with a new attitude. We got cleaned up and walked to Brennan's on Rue Royal for brunch.

What can you say? New Orleans is famous for a lot of things, and spectacular food is near the top of the list. Brennan's never disappoints. Grillades and grits, Eggs Benedict, Eggs Sardou, Crepes Fitzgerald and Bananas Foster. Atmosphere, ambiance, service, food: all first rate. It was a beautiful way to spend Easter morning.
We were just blocks away from the oldest continually active church in America, St. Louis Cathedral. As we walked out of Brennan's, a mass was scheduled to start in twenty-five minutes. On Easter, how do you pass that up?Apparently, most folks agreed with us. Two archbishops anchored the procession into a standing-room only crowd.
It should be noted that the bishop has an armed New Orleans policeman right beside him. I'm not sure what to make of that.
Although I was a visitor, the energy in the cathedral during the mass gave me goosebumps and a couple of times moved me to the verge of tears.

There were four Easter Sunday services at the cathedral, and by all accounts the place was overflowing all morning and into the afternoon. It's easy to note, as you walk away from the church, that you must pass through the French Quarter, the setting for so much sinning. But, hey, that's New Orleans!
My daughter is very active in Church, but as she matures, we have gone in different denominational directions. So, forgive me a little self indulgence if I was too pleased to be by her side during a liturgical service on the holiest day on the Christian calendar.
This trip was all about making memories as her high school graduation draws near. It seems clear that we succeeded. She will never forget the lights going out on "Wicked." The WWII museum apparently made a lasting impression. Brennan's was just spectacular. She's still talking about a dish she had at a restaurant on Rue Chartres called Alpine. The demonstrative devotion of the Roman Catholics at the cathedral was moving.
Oh, and one more thing. We know why she slept so late Saturday morning. It seems a couple in an adjacent hotel room were particularly robust and vocal in expressing their "affection" in the early morning hours. I guess she saw and heard the moral and spiritual spectrum over the course of three days.
Hey, It's New Orleans.

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